Wes Reads DC: Deathstroke #1-2: Brutal Brilliance!

Deathstroke #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

After my glowing look at Deathstroke: Rebirth I was hesitant to do another piece on this series. After reading the first two issues of the ongoing, I had to say something. Consider this a slight bit of review but more, here is why I like this. Christopher Priest with the Rebirth issue brought back an extra sense of grit to the DC Universe. Deathstroke’s world isn’t a nice one and as Priest expands on it, the comic is that much better. I won’t be going on a spoiler spree here with this piece so you can read on with peace. A non-stop brutal and violent wonderland awaits you in exploring the life of Slade Wilson. As a comic series, Deathstroke doesn’t shy away from the darkness and that’s wonderful. Read on, join me in my adventure into Deathstroke #1-2.

By the time this is through, you will likely be snagging the first two issues at hyper speed.

Deathstroke #2 DC Rebirth Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

One aspect of DC that I appreciate is how when it does gritty, it does gritty. Deathstroke is a weird character for DC as they’ve never been sure how to portray him. DC was wanting to make him their next antihero and that never gelled as a concept for the most part. The Deathstroke that works is one that portrays Slade Wilson has a terrible person and that’s fine. These two issues continue exploring how dark Slade’s world really is. What I like about Priest’s portrayal of Slade is how he fleshes him out as a character. There’s an understanding as to why he is the way he is. Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, he’s not good, bad, he’s Deathstroke and hopefully you’re not the person he’s after.

Deathstroke doesn’t live in a pretty world, but it is a fascinating one.

Deathstroke #1 Assassin Splash

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we’re dealing with yet another tweak of Slade Wilson’s family but I hope this is the one that sticks. There’s a nice dynamic as to how Slade’s family works from the past with his wife, to his daughter from another woman. Priest deals with all this in a matter of fact way. Even the people in his supporting cast, especially Wintergreen say Slade is not a nice person. It is also shown though if you’re in a firefight, Slade Wilson is a good person to have at your side. He’s not the best friend, he’s not a great dad, not a great husband, but an amazing warrior.

Deathstroke: Terrible Person, Best Fighter Around, That’s Slade Wilson.

Deathstroke #2 Slade Wilson Battle

Copyright: DC Comics

I like how Priest is building Slade up at this point with his adversaries. For a new reader, the new Deathstroke series is a primer on Slade Wilson. If you want to know how he’d handle a non-powered to a super powered character, this is it.  So far this series is keeping Slade Wilson grounded for all the best reasons, making for great storytelling opportunities. Right now the story is someone is after Slade and it’s not clear who it is. There’s one big reveal at the end of issue two that sets up a lot of possibilities for who could be after him. We’re only at part three here and I know there’s more to come. The hits just keep on coming for Slade Wilson.

As the issues go on you learn more about Slade’s family life too and it gets messed up, fast. Every writer at some point or another has a take on Slade Wilson’s family. To be honest from all that I know, this is ten shades of awful, then again this is Slade. All of Slade’s family life takes place in the past and it makes you wonder how this will sort itself out. Priest’s way of jumping between the past and the present as a storytelling technique works wonders here. The layers to this series building within these issues and the Rebirth issue is phenomenal.

There is even more to say here for sure, Deathstroke is just that good.

Now take note as I talk about the story happening here, Deathstroke’s art team is incredible.  In my Deathstroke: Rebirth article I rave a lot about the art team and it all applies here too, such amazing work. In #2 the team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox, and Willie Schubert get another addition, Larry Hama on breakdowns. Hama is a perfect fit for Deathstroke’s world. Pagulayan’s pencil work and Paz’s inking were great, but Hama adds another element to Deathstroke. It’s noticeable how the storytelling got that much tighter with Hama’s breakdowns. Priest has a team here that has shown that they bring his vision to life with sheer ease. It’s exquisite.

This my friends, summing up two issues of Deathstroke, Simply Put, Buy This.

I could go on even more about Deathstroke but it would be overkill. A genuine blast of a book that will keep you engaged for the entire time reading it and you will want more. One of the best in the DC Rebirth line that deserves all the attention it can get. Slade Wilson is a terrible person but as Deathstroke, a terrible person makes for a fascinating series. Buy this comic.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads Supergirl: Rebirth #1: Welcome Back Kara!

Supergirl: Rebirth #1 Cover

Copyright DC Comics and Cover by Emanuela Lupacchino and Michael Atiyeh

Let’s start this out by saying this, I’m a huge fan of the Supergirl TV series that starts its second season on the CW this Fall. With that admission out of the way I have to say, in the New 52 I felt Supergirl was a character that suffered a lot during that period. Deathstroke had a rough time of it too in the New 52 with Supergirl in the same boat. With DC Rebirth we get Supergirl: Rebirth #1 setting up the new status quo pushing Supergirl forward for her new ongoing. Steve Orlando has high praise as a writer from me with his work on Midnighter from DC in particular. With him in charge of Supergirl, my hopes were high for this series. Being a fan of the TV series and knowing the quirky history of Supergirl, this could have gone either way for me. With the comic now here and in my hands, now I start my thought process. How did it go? Did it live up to my expectations? What does the future hold for me and did I end up liking this comic? All this and more to be revealed as I dive into Supergirl: Rebirth #1

Supergirl DC Rebirth Title Panel

Copyright: DC Comics

In the art of playing my hand too early here I have to admit, I liked this book a lot. Any series that gives me Cameron Chase on a regular basis is off to a good start. Of course I am getting ahead of myself as the new series does establish Kara working for the D.E.O. as Supergirl like the TV show. The series starts her off in a different direction, she’s powerless to start out with and she’s having to rebuild from that. If any series sets the tone for DC Rebirth, Supergirl: Rebirth is one such series. This feels like a reboot of the character and that’s not a bad thing either. You get a look at her old home of Argo City as a framing point for the story proper. Even better her origin story is told in a fluid way that feels natural and organic to the story.

What does this journey hold for Supergirl?

Supergirl DC Rebirth Spaceship

Copyright: DC Comics, Writer: Steve Orlando, Penciller: Emanuela Lupacchino, Inker: Ray McCarthy, Colorist: Michael Atiyeh, Letterer: Steve Wands

The supporting cast gets a nice setup too, my early mention of Cameron Chase as director of the D.E.O and Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers as her foster parents on Earth. That’s how you use the material of the TV series and use it to make your comic that much better. Even better that Cameron Chase gets to be the awesome character I’ve loved ever since her ongoing series. I like that Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers get established as strong characters too, the supporting cast is well fleshed out by the end of the issue. The Argo City framing device I mention sets up many things to come in this series, at least for this story arc. The personality of Kara Danvers shines through as she’s a 16 year old girl learning how to adapt to Earth and looking forward to what happens from here. She works for the D.E.O. and is game to see where this goes and you can’t help but like her by the end of the issue. This is a great example of the best of DC Rebirth as to how to make a character better.

An excellent supporting cast with a strong lead will get you everywhere.

Supergirl: Rebirth already has strong character work with a great story and how does the art fare? The art team is up to the task and fit this comic brilliantly. Steve Orlando gave his art team plenty to work with here. Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Michael Atiyeh are a phenomenal team to have on this. Lupacchino’s pencils are dynamic, energetic, and expressive as anything I’ve seen before. There’s one scene in particular that’s a standout for me, the double spread of Supergirl coming out from the Sun and back at full power. That perfect expression, the bold lines of McCarthy’s inks, and the blazing hot colors from Michael Atiyeh, make Supergirl come to life here.  The Kryptonian Werewolf fight is a blast to watch too but Orlando’s way of expressing Supergirl’s soul shines with Lupacchino’s pencils. It’s a beautifully colored book too, Atiyeh makes use of bright and bold eye popping colors to show that above all, this book will be one about optimism. It’s an exciting time indeed to have a book like this shine art wise along with brilliant writing.

If you’re hesitant about buying Supergirl: Rebirth, don’t be. This comic is a great way for new readers to get to know Supergirl. It merges aspects of the TV and Comic worlds together to make a great comic book series in the process. I am looking forward to the upcoming Supergirl #1 even more than before. If this is any indication of what we’re in for with the series itself, we’re in for a great adventure.

Wes Reads Deathstroke: Rebirth #1: Christopher Priest Returns to DC!

Deathstroke Rebirth #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics with Cover by ACO and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

In the New 52, DC had a tough time with an ongoing for one character in particular, Deathstroke. At his core Deathstroke is a tough character to build an ongoing around as by nature, he’s not easy to connect with. Yet with the right set up, Slade Wilson as Deathstroke can be a compelling read. I remember when the DC Rebirth announcements hit and Christopher Priest on Deathstroke surprised me. Deathstroke became a comic for me personally to get excited about because if this character is where Priest returns to an ongoing series, this has got to be good. Quietly I’ve been awaiting this comic and I’ve been waiting to see what Priest has in store for us as readers. I am surprised that they’re doing a Rebirth rather than going into a #1 but from reading this issue, I can see why a Rebirth issue was needed here. So does Priest have the magic touch once more to get readers hooked into Deathstroke? Well there’s only one way to find out, let’s dive into Deathstroke: Rebirth #1 and go back into the brutal world of Slade Wilson once more.

Deathstroke Rebirth Title Deathstroke the Professional

Copyright: DC Comics, Letterer: Willie Schubert

First off with Deathstroke: Rebirth #1, you can tell that this is a Christopher Priest comic from the get go. The black box with white text giving you the slightest hint of what you’re in for is that instant sign that this is a Priest book. You see Slade Wilson being a Dad, an awful Dad at points, but a Dad nonetheless. On the other hand you see Slade as Deathstroke and what mission he’s on right now. You get many sides of the character, Mercenary, Dad, and altogether a complete character study of sorts. Best part about Deathstroke: Rebirth is you don’t need to know that much about Deathstroke going into this. Priest is making a point to show all the sides of Slade Wilson and how he operates. For every moment that Slade has that second where he might not be so terrible, he immediately becomes terrible again. Slade Wilson is not a good person and Priest doesn’t shy away from that. Priest is starting off his run on Deathstroke by doing some amazing character work with him from the start. There’s a lot of action and intensity here but the character work here is top notch.

deathstroke-rebirth-dc-comics-priest-pagulayan-battle

Copyright: DC Comics Art Team: Pencils: Carlo Pagulayan, Inks: Jason Paz, Colorist: Jeromy Cox

You get a slow intro to Slade Wilson’s supporting cast in the book too, mostly Hosun his tech support, eventually Slade’s Kids, and another character I won’t mention because of spoilers. This isn’t a slow burn book by any means, yet Priest is making it clear, Deathstroke is the major focus and everything else is forming around him. This isn’t a light book either, some humorous moments yet but this book is dark without a doubt. Which shows in the art of the series, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Jeromy Cox, make for a powerhouse art team here. It’s realistic, and tough as nails art and I like it. Pagulayan has a style fit for Slade’s world, it’s tough and suited for the fluid action scenes here. Paz’s inks add a tight line to the work, giving extra emphasis to Pagulayan’s art making it that much stronger. Jeromy Cox’s colors are muted for this, this is not a bright and shiny world that we’re in here and the colors show it. I would say the brightest coloring in the comic is the desert as Slade Wilson is talking to his current employer in the bright desert but the horrors around him are shaded in hushed and dark tones. The art for this series fits the character and sets the mood for darker things to come.

Deathstroke: Rebirth sets up Slade Wilson as a genuine bad guy and that’s amazing. No gimmicks, nothing fancy, just Slade Wilson being Slade Wilson. This is a back to basics for Slade Wilson and it’s been sorely needed. Now this may not be a series everyone will end up digging, this isn’t a light read by any means but it is good reading for sure if you’re into it. It adds more than a couple cool ideas into Slade’s world and I can’t help but like that. If you’re a big Deathstroke fan or just want a good tough action series, look no further than Deathstroke: Rebirth.

The DC Rebirth Journey: Wes Reads Week Two of DC Rebirth

Detective Comics #934 DC Rebirth Cover

DC Rebirth marks one of the biggest surprises I have had as a comic fan in a long time. Week One of DC Rebirth was overall successful, at least for me. Now we are onto week two and what an adventure it is. I’m going to be keeping with this format covering DC Rebirth as since I am reading them all; at least for now. Until then enjoy these massive posts detailing my thoughts on the whole DC Rebirth adventure week to week. For Week Two we have Action Comics, Detective Comics, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash. All of these worked in their own way to set the scene for DC Rebirth. I’m here to sort it out in my own head as well as tell you all if they’re worth reading. There’s a lot happening here and I’m happy to take you along for the ride. If you’re coming from Week One, thanks for returning, and if you’re on board for the first time with Week Two, welcome and I am happy to have you here!  Welcome to Week Two of The DC Rebirth Journey, come along as I explore this second week of DC Rebirth.

(Small Warning there may be mild spoilers for the books in these reviews, the Wonder Woman is the one that has some mild spoiler material.)

Aquaman: Rebirth #1 Cover DC RebirthAquaman: Rebirth #1

The one book out of this entire week that made me scratch my head a lot was Aquaman: Rebirth. Dan Abnett was doing what I call Geoff Johns lite. Making a point to show how great Aquaman is and this time around having Mera as part of the story. It’s a decent read, not perfect but decent enough of a read. It is showing that Aquaman is in a better place with Mera by his side for starters. With The Deluge as a new threat in his life as King of Atlantis, it’s a cool idea yet doesn’t quite work as well as I thought it would. Yet the coolest part of this was the ending as there is a constant narration by a classic character that works wonders in increasing interest for this series. I’m not one hundred percent sold on Aquaman at least yet. This is one where I’m not sure if I’ll get the first issue of the ongoing series. I must say though, I did enjoy the art of Scot Eaton and Oscar Jimenez, it looked good with some rocking inks by Mark Morales and Jimenez himself doing inks as well. I do say that Gabe Eltaeb’s coloring set this book off on the right foot, beautiful coloring throughout this comic. While the story isn’t working fully for me yet, the art helped this along for sure.

The Flash: Rebirth #1 CoverThe Flash: Rebirth #1

The Flash was a tough book to judge, probably the toughest of week two. For starters this felt like an epilogue for DC Universe: Rebirth. It’s a good continuation of the events of DC Universe: Rebirth but you only get a loose idea of where The Flash is heading. Josh Williamson does excellent work with Barry Allen and setting Wally West up on his adventures in the upcoming Titans series. As a proper story for The Flash on his own, this is an odd one. It’s not bad by any means and if you want to see more of where the DC Universe and DC Rebirth is going, The Flash: Rebirth does that in spades. If you’re looking for a stand alone Flash story though, this is not it. I do find myself liking this though as overall it is a good read. Williamson gave me just enough to get me to want to try the first issue of The Flash series. I will say though Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art is a show stopper here showing that this series is going to look phenomenal as the action here is amazing, with spot on emotional touches to the work. Ivan Plascencia’s color work here is impressive too, bright, colorful, and at points moody in the right places. I’m willing to stick it out with this book, there is just enough here to keep me interested.

 

DC Rebirth Wonder Woman Punch

 

Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 DC Comics CoverWonder Woman: Rebirth #1

Out of all the series in DC Rebirth thus far, Wonder Woman: Rebirth was the big one. Greg Rucka returning to Wonder Woman is a major event in itself and if it didn’t work there would have been a major letdown. Luckily in this case Wonder Woman: Rebirth was not a letdown and turned out to be a successful return. Rucka is doing serious deep diving into the history of Wonder Woman. Her continuity has always been a mess and that’s being polite. Hence why Greg Rucka is now using every single bit of Wonder Woman and putting it into this story. I now have a new term called Wonder Woman Punch as with one punch you see every bit of her quirky continuity appear before you. It makes for a cool effect and shows that Greg Rucka means business with this new run. This is one that I’m glad I’ve taken a few days with and I find myself excited for where he is going to take her character. It’s also a great looking book, Matthew Clark and Sean Parsons make for a great art team handling most of the issue, that double page spread with Wonder Woman Punch alone seals the deal. Then you see Liam Sharp handling the art for the last few pages and we are in for a treat to say the least as these pages were amazing. Then you get the strong colors of Jeremy Colwell on the Clark and Parsons pages and Laura Martin’s coloring on Liam Sharp and hands down this book is breathtaking.  At the end of the day, this comic is all about finding The Truth about Wonder Woman and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Action Comics #957 DC Rebirth CoverAction Comics #957

Now we have Action Comics returning back to its original numbering as the push to Action Comics #1000 begins! I have to say with Action Comics that this lived up to the name for sure. It was action packed and Dan Jurgens made a point to shove in as much as he could into this issue. You get the official return of Pre-52 Superman into his costume and his meeting with Lex Luthor as his own version of Superman. We get some good character moments with Pre-52 Superman and Lex Luthor, as Luthor in this Earth hasn’t met this Superman yet. A good and definitely smash and bash filled dynamic is starting already with Pre-52 Superman and Lex. I did enjoy the family dynamic happening here, Pre-52 Superman, Lois, and his son Jon are a blast to see together. I also enjoyed how Lex set his appearance as the new Superman up, it was enjoyable. It’s a little rocky though as so far we’re only given so much to go on. As I said, there is a lot shoved into this issue and you don’t get a chance to really dive into anything. The ending was a nice touch though so I’m willing to give this more time to gel together. I will say though that Patrick Zircher’s art is on a new level, excellent work especially with the Lex vs. Superman fight, so much high intensity action that was a joy to see on the page. I liked the coloring here too, Tomeu Morey does excellent with capturing the energy lying within Action Comics as the colors look amazing and pop off of these pages. Good if not slightly rocky start so far. Giving it a couple issues to see where it goes.

Detective Comics #934 DC Rebirth CoverDetective Comics #934

The other book that begins the run to #1000 is Detective Comics #934. Not even going to hide it, this was my favorite book of all the DC Rebirth releases for Week Two. James Tynion IV is going full speed ahead with this story and I love it to pieces. Batman and Batwoman are starting a boot camp of sorts for the vigilantes of Gotham with Clayface along for the ride. The way this all comes together is smooth and without a single hitch. This is one book that clicked from the get go and got even better as the issue neared the end, I wanted more and that is a good sign. The new threat that is rising that sets up Batman and Batwoman doing this is compelling, I am so excited by this series. Clayface is going to steal the show I get the feeling as he is such an unlikely but lovable new member to the Bat-family. It doesn’t hurt that also Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira are doing some of the best work I have seen out of them, especially in the Clayface sequence, if the writing didn’t break your heart, the art will make you want to hug Clayface.  Adriano Lucas does brilliant work on the colors here too, I love the mood set with them. Clayface having this almost watercolor feel at point, and you can’t help but get lost in this world. Detective Comics #934 is excellent and I recommend grabbing that as soon as you can.

 

Week Two of DC Rebirth was a rousing success overall, some parts didn’t work as well but for the most part a lot of great reads. It is weird to admit but I really did miss collecting DC Comics on a regular basis and love being back in the DC Universe again. Keep an eye out for Week Three of DC Rebirth later this week and until then thanks for joining me on my DC Rebirth Journey.

The DC Rebirth Journey: Wes Reads Week One of DC Rebirth

DC Rebirth Week One

Initially my plan for DC Rebirth for week one was to cover all of the books in detail for detailed reviews and so forth. Then the week and weekend got away from me. Going forward there will be more detailed thoughts on DC Rebirth and I’ve said my piece on them on my twitter here and there for week one. Yet I wanted to put something for DC Rebirth, hence the DC Rebirth Journey of week one of DC Rebirth. As there is a lot to say on the books, heck there is a surprising amount to say on these books so far.  Consider this my somewhat truncated, short burst, magical week one thoughts on DC Rebirth. DC Rebirth is something I’ve been wanting to dive into in detail as at one point, I was a huge DC Comics buyer. Then the New 52 happened and over time my DC Comics pile lessened and while later I found books I liked buying in trade, month to month I didn’t have that fire to buy DC Comics. Hence I am trying my hand at the DC Rebirth Journey. Join me won’t you as I dive into the first week of DC Rebirth, a quick burst adventure into DC’s first week of books.

The first week of books was a good mix you had Green Arrow: Rebirth, Superman: Rebirth, Green Lanterns: Rebirth, and Batman: Rebirth. Out of them all the one I was planning on skipping was Green Arrow. I had only decided at the last minute to grab Green Arrow and that turned out to be my favorite book of the first week. This comic was happiness personified in a comic book. Gave a great overview of Oliver Queen and how he operates as Green Arrow. It’s new reader friendly while still giving a lot to the older readers, establishing Black Canary back into his life for starters. Setting up a potential new villain in the future too and of course giving him his rocking goatee back. Benjamin Percy is phenomenal on this comic and art wise, Otto Schmidt was amazing on this. This was the book that made me realize that DC Rebirth was well on the right path. The book I was going to skip turned out to be my favorite, a pleasant surprise indeed.

Green Lanterns: Rebirth set up a cool new idea for the Green Lantern Corps going forward. A dynamic duo of Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz not getting along, yet being forced to work together because they have to share the same lantern to charge their rings. It’s a cool idea and Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries connect you to both Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, making them both cool characters in their own right. It’s new reader friendly and sets up a connection right off the bat. Even sets up more than a few new threats to compel you to want to check out the new series. It has a lot of excellent potential, the Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes art team worked well together on this issue too. It wasn’t my favorite but I have to admit it was a lot of fun, I may not be entirely sold on the new series yet but I am game to give the first issue a shot.

Green Arrow and Black Canary DC Rebirth

Now for the Batman: Rebirth and Superman: Rebirth, both serve as ways to ease out of the New 52 and into the realm of DC Rebirth. Batman: Rebirth was Scott Snyder and Tom King working together to set up the new run with Snyder handing over the keys to Tom King going forward. It sets up an amazing revamp of Calendar Man for one, suitably creepy and will be cool to see how that plays out going forward. Duke Thomas from Zero Year is being set up not as Robin but something different, a new sort of sidekick for Batman. Not sure how this will play out but this could be a blast to see. Mikel Janin nails this book art wise, it’s a cool looking book and I don’t want to forget to mention here that June Chung’s colors are gorgeous on this comic. It’s a good setup for Batman going forward and gives you a loose idea that Tom King is going to be playing with a lot of fun toys.

Superman: Rebirth as I mentioned is a way to ease into DC Rebirth. Superman: Rebirth is an epilogue to the aftermath of the death of the New 52 Superman. Superman: Rebirth serves as a way to reacquaint fans to the pre-52 Superman and introduce new readers to him if they need it. Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason talk about the death and return of the pre-52 Superman using Lana Lang as a way for the readers to learn about his history. Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza handle the art duties here superbly, showing the power and joyous optimism of the pre-52 Superman. It doesn’t set up any new threats as much as it is a way to show the readers that yes, pre-52 Superman is here and ready to return to being Superman once more. It’s a cool book and a joy to read, getting me excited for Superman and also Action Comics as well.

The first week of DC Rebirth was a rousing success and if this is any kind of indication of what the rest of the books are going to be like, this is going to be amazing. I can already feel my optimism for DC Comics rising as I think about the books to come. A great start to this relaunch and I await the rest of the journey. Keep tabs here as I continue my journey into DC Rebirth in the months to come. The good, bad, and the ugly, I shall discover it all as I venture forward. So far though it looks like smooth sailing ahead and that makes me smile.